Meet the Artists
Scott Checkalski - Acrylic paint
My soul purpose on Earth is to not just create artwork. I am a hobbyist, an athlete, homeowner, son, brother, uncle, someone's significant other, dog lover and owner, a cancer survivor, classic car enthusiast, art collector, golfer, dreamer, armature carpenter, and a do-it-yourselfer, an underappreciated big box retail manager, and hopefully one day I can call myself a husband and a father.
Out of all the things that describe me I would like to think I am an artist most. I enjoy the simple things in life and I apply them to my art. Simple shapes, objects, and subject matter that is easy on the eyes. The bright, bold acrylic colors, used to complement each other on canvas. Brushstrokes controlled by hand movements in an almost obsessive/compulsive way. I also create the complicated from an imagination and dreams deep within my mind, which is open to a wide variety of reactions.
Joan Hendershot - Earth Art Pottery
Craft pottery is a work of art, both decorative and utilitarian. While clay and glaze are basic substances literally from the earth the potter transforms them into something elevated and elegant.
Joan Hendershot's pottery pieces are intended to be loved by someone else, but they are made deliberately, slowly, and with some strongly preconceived notions of what she finds to be joyous. Her art explores every day objects that weave their beautiful way into our daily lives through use. Every pot made is considered as an individual that belongs to a large family. This uniqueness reminds us that it is handmade and not part of our mass produced world. Joan's pottery can decorate your living spaces with character and elegance. Teapots celebrate a quiet moment drinking tea; a pitcher decorates a mantel when not in use; a mug with slight texture inside the handle allows your fingers to discover uniqueness. Her pottery is a reflection of our lives, supporting our personal experiences of nourishment, contemplation, and celebration.
DPhoto Originals - Deb Carroll
I see the world in photographs. Photography is included in, or inspires all of the gifts and items that I create. Although my fascination with photography grew along side my lifelong interest in science and the outdoor world, I enjoy many types of camera work. Capturing the moment during special events, family gatherings, and wildlife sightings are all just as engrossing for me. The challenge of combining the perfect lighting with that just-right composition keeps every session with my camera fresh.
Superior Candles - Nancy Senn
These are hand crafted scented delights blended and poured here in Superior, Wisconsin. These creations by Nancy Senn feature a unique soy/paraffin blend with a crackling wood wick evoking fireside memories. Each candle is triple scented, with extra u.v. protection and as an added bonus, there is a melting tart poured in each of the lids to complete the candle making them truly SUPERIOR..
As Nancy and her family blend the aroma and color of these creations they name each batch based on flavor, hue.... and a little bit of fanciful whimsy as well.
Kat provides a unique vision of Steampunk/bohemian style "wearable art" as well as wall or window wire sculptures. All these mixed metal, hand-wrapped and hand crafted works are one of a kind, and her jewelry designs in particular are invariably enhanced with a brief descriptive story of the design as it develops both through her vision and as a completed creation.
Karen Zeisler - Textile Artist
Each piece of Karen Zeisler's work is a unique style of wearable art, so that every bracelet cuff, shawl, wrap, or scarf will possess it's own vision.
Karen creates garments to adorn the wearer. These Textiles take on qualities of both silk and wool, plus an ethereal third dimension in synergy from the mix. They are supple and luminous, cobwebby yet durable, and beautifully whimsical.
This process takes the ancient art form of feltmaking and blends it with a modern aesthetic to create art and textiles that transcend time through design, interpretation, inspiration, and the ability to "paint" with fiber.
Gretchen Lisdahl – Stained Glass Artist
Gretchen's work combines elements of glass, metal, and mixed media - into wall sculptures. Each person is encouraged to respond to them and find their own associations or stories. Nature and landscape, the "accident" of found objects, time, balance, telling a story (that the viewer creates or participates in), are all woven into her work. Art glass: no other medium captures the dance of light and color so perfectly . As Gretchen says: “I have been working with glass since 2002, and feel fortunate to get to do what I love. My favorite technique is lampworking (bead making with a torch) although that seems to be the medium I work with the least these days.
Mary McMahan - Acrylic Paint
What happens when paint, power, and passion all meet? Mary McMahan's wonderfully vibrant work reflects her unique vision. The feeling of spontaneity and dynamic flow permeates her artistic work. This is achieved largely through the creative technique of dripping and splashing paint directly onto the canvas, maybe even while freely dancing around it. Her work is playful, humorous, mind-puzzling, subliminally mystic and deeply provocative.
Concerned primarily with capturing the essence rather than the physical reality of her inspirations, Mary's interpretation of floral blooms are largely impressionistic with the occasional foray into “abstract impressionism”. Each piece is created by the evolving interaction between line, color and texture. This ensures that every piece is entirely original in creation and design.
David Leszcynski - Oil on Canvas
The surrealist works of David Leszcynski feature the element of surprise, unexpected juxtapositions and non sequitur fully supporting the philosophy that ordinary and depictive expressions are vital and important, but that the sense of their arrangement must be open to the full range of imagination. This is exactly the territory where you will find his oil on canvas dreamscapes. In the words of the artist himself; "As a Surrealist I go where my unconscious leads me. I'm always working on a canvas. Sometimes I get so deeply involved in one aspect of a work that I am not really aware of the passage of time and I will emerge from my concentration surprised that so many hours have passed. I may have a very general idea when I begin a canvas... but the oil has a mind of it's own and I follow where the shapes lead me and it's the access I have to my subconscious that opens the way for my artistic creativity."
Patricia Lenz - Collage Artist,
Exhibitions Director - North End Arts Gallery
Board Chair - Superior Council for the Arts
I collect images from photographs I have taken: pre-photo shop, I enlarged and copied images, recombining them with images appropriated from colored print pages. There is always a narrative running through my head as I find images that relate to my intention. I do a lot of selection and discarding before I actually start the work. When I have it in my head, I work fast. The results, after combinations are put down, surprise me. Naturally, I see things emerge as the work is put down. When I do a final color print (Giclee on watercolor paper), I work back into it with pastels, paint, pencil, ink.
Besides my memories, my biggest influences are things I see and store as I travel. I am an avid museum goer—ancient and modern art. I do a lot of drawing for reference, often focusing on one piece or detail. I rarely refer specifically to the drawings and studies in my sketchbooks, but it’s all in the storehouse.
Kim Ball - Beach Glass Artist
The mystical appeal of Beach Glass has contributed to an enormous increase in its popularity. Each genuine Beach Glass piece is an original work of art, consisting of authentic Beach Glass, unique and one of a kind. That’s right, just like a snowflake, no two are alike. Each piece of Beach Glass is unaltered and presented without alteration or augmentation to the natural poliching and shaping action of the wind and waves and sand right here on the shores of Lake Superior.
Kim prides herself on her encyclopedic knowlege of Beach Glass typology and has a keen eye for the most rare and uncommon offerings brought to her attention by nature's currents.
Each piece of Kim's carefully handcrafted artisans work are more than beautiful... they are "Beachyfull"!
Robert and Cheryl Husby have been working collaboratively at their Duluth salt glaze pottery for over two decades. Their pots are wheel thrown and altered with hand building. The elasticity of the porcelain they use is perfect for their form manipulation and surface design. The viewer can readily observe the balance achieved between the sculptural and functional aspects of their work.
The Husby's work is in numerous private and public collections and they continue to exhibit in galleries and art shows nationally and internationally.
Robert graduated from the University of Minnesota, Duluth. He received an MA from the University of Wisconsin, Superior. At the University of Southern Illinois, Edwardsville, he received an M.F.A. for his work in ceramics and glass. Cheryl began her studies at the University of Minnesota, received her B.F.A. from the University of Wisconsin, Superior, and M.F.A. in ceramics and painting from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville.
Margee Senn - Folk Art
Creating unique artwork from repurposed materials, Margee Senn designs her work in a primitive, folkart, vintage, shabby chic style to produce objects that combine art with everyday function. By re-purposing salvaged wood with reclaimed materials her delightful creations add the dimension of character aquired over many years of exposure in a kind of "Decor-Art" that infuses every one of her pieces with a personal and unique touch. This farmhouse or cottage style is a very forgiving, warm, and friendly, and these particular selections don't just embrace imperfection, they celebrate them.
Rebecca Olson - Oil Pastel
Rebecca works for a local school district with elementary-aged students. She taught kindergarten before realizing her passion to work with special education students. While accompanying students to their art classes, she realized she could support her students best by working along side them. Through modeling desired classroom behavior and the encouragement of the school's art teacher, she discovered she loved working with oil pastels. Rebecca lives locally with her husband and four children, two dogs, and a rescue bunny named Penny.
Similar Dogs - Musicians
The unique duo of Joe Lindzius & Sarah Jane Hale. Similar in their desire to play music that they dig. A diverse repertoire grounded by acoustic guitar.
Esther Piszczek Zentangle
Patterns have fascinated me since childhood. Doodled designs filled the margins of notebooks from grade school through law school and followed me right into the courtroom. Inwardly, I yearned to be an artist; outwardly, the world seemed to say: “What you draw is not art.” I believed that voice for a long time. And then, in November 2011, three years after I left the practice of law to live more creatively, an acquaintance introduced me to z e n t a n g l e ®. Zentangle gave me a method by which I was able to take my love of pattern and express it in an organized way. Simply put, it gave me permission to say: I AM an Artist. I became a certified Zentangle teacher in August 2012.
What I love about the z e n t a n g l e method is its inherent freedom. z e n t a n g l e has shown me how to look at a seemingly complex pattern, deconstruct it into its essential components and recreate it―freehand, using pen and paper. In z e n t a n g l e there is no erasing―there are no mistakes. This non-critical, let’s-see-what-happens-next way of drawing allows me to practice sidelining the analytical, judgmental attorney side of me and gives my artist permission to explore and discover new ways of doing things in the world. It is a mind-set I seek to create in every moment, not just when I put pen to paper.
Denise Denu - Masks
Denise began making masks as an outgrowth of her fascination with native cultural masks combined with a general love of costuming, Halloween, and Mardi Gras. She finds the process of creating each of these airbrushed artworks magical. Even though she begins with a concept, as she shapes and colors each mask, she has found that each evolves into it's own character. The end result is an insight into the wonders of our real and imagined experience.
Woodcrafts by Dave
The combination of woodworking craft and design flair results in these quaintly capricious creations equally suited to interior décor or exterior utility. The whimsical beauty of these handcrafted birdhouses is augmented with vintage fastenings, hardware, and finial finishes. The three step process that goes into the creation of these elegantly rustic avian abodes reflects the woodworking skill and craftsmanship of the life-long professional construction experience of David Hoad giving vibrant new life to a medium both practical and wonderfully, unpredictably, ornamental.
Paul Kending - Author
Paul Kending is a former television broadcaster who taught communications at the University of Wisconsin in Superior for 28 years. He served in the military during the Korean war and has traveled extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Southeast Asia. During his college years he worked in logging camps in Wisconsin and Montana.
His literary inspiration is informed by his vast experience traveling the world and exploring different cultures both in a professional capacity as a Mass Media and Broadcasting instructor through the University of Wisconsin - Superior, as well as personal travel for recreation and pleasure.
Dennis Aho – Calligrapher – Ink Artist
Captain Dennis Aho's nautically themed artwork, pen, pencil sketch or inked calligraphy is, quite literally, a lifetime occupation.
"My mother encouraged my childish drawings and bought me reams of newsprint," And in one way, it was his artistic endeavors that lead him to his life on the water. "I needed money for art school in Ohio," says Aho who was constantly jumping on a ship to earn tuition. He even turned down a position at a famous card company offered to him while he was still a student. "I was paged out of class and told that it was American Greeting on the line wanting to offer me a job," says Aho, "But it wasn't paying much and after I thought through all my expenses...well, I figured there wasn't going to be much left for Dennis." So he took to the lucrative lakes in an effort to keep himself in school. "I think I'm a junior now," he laughs. Although Dennis Aho occasionally may wonder a few "what ifs" about that un-taken the card illustration job, he's not sure he could have created art on demand. "I'm too independent," he says, preferring to take his own direction sketching what surrounds him -- primarily bridges and ships. Captain Aho is almost never without a ready supply of charcoal pencils, good paper and pens. "I was a sailor to earn art supply money," Sadly Aho lost much of his artistic record while when getting off a ship. "They dropped my suitcase into the drink and I lost three years of art and a brand new calligraphy set I hadn't even opened." Despite that setback (and what life doesn't have those?) In his work, you'll see a keen eye for the small details such as the rivets and reflected lines of solid shapes transformed through the mirrored surfaces of water.
Ed Newman - Mixed Media Paintings
Artists of every age work within a context. Our postmodern era is one that reflects rapid change, hopes, fears, idealism, disillusionment and a deeply human need for connection. My creative explorations reflect a variety of aspects of our times, as well as my inward vision, and to some extent the content of our mutual souls.
My motivation for drawing and painting is a mix of compulsive necessity and the therapeutic satisfaction of watching the creative process as it unfolds.
Lynn Anderson - Photography
Lynn Anderson Fine Art
A crisp, clear photograph is often taken at face value--it is what it
is. Often there is little room for the viewer’s imagination to play with
possibilities or embark on a new way of seeing. Yet, the history of
photography is rich with image makers who experimented with the camera’s unique ability to portray the world in novel ways.
I seek to create visual poetry with my fine art digital photography, by
leaving a fleeting impression of a botanic form for viewers to
contemplate. Drawing from color and form in the natural world, I
experiment with uncertainty to spark creativity. I seek to evoke a
change in perception, a meditative awareness, a reconsideration of the
dream of ourselves, or that which appears to be. I want my viewer to
linger a bit and interpret my naturescapes in a deeper, more personal way. Thus, the clear focus of the camera lens is purposely abandoned to encourage a connection with the eternal and transcendent forces at work
in the world. My work may also be viewed at www.lynnandersonart.com
Kris Nelson - Chairs by Kris
I am the "Chair Lady". I paint where you sit. I need to create everyday. I have tried watercolor, stained glass, weaving, and quilting, but I found my true passion with chairs. I recycle used chairs and I try to match the style of the chair to my composition. Every chair tells a story and has it's own personality. The chair is my canvas. I hope my chairs make a difference by taking something ordinary and making it extraordinary. I want to excite the imagination and stimulate the emotions of my viewers. "Chairish" the memories - Kris
Kenneth Swensen - Photography
Every picture has a story. Every photographer is a visual storyteller. It is through these stories that people are inspired. Inspiration sparks imagination. Imagination sparks creation. Because Kenneth Swenson's work takes him into the ordinary landscapes of the Northland from an extraordinary perspective, he is inspired to share fleeting glimpses of light, time, and place which allow viewers to see something new in a familiar context. His photographic eye is quick to capture some element ... a beam of light, a texture, a reflection ... that looks as powerful on film as it does in memory.
Marge Keho - Woodworker
Are you looking for a gift that is truly unique? Do you know someone that is a collector? All of Marge Keho's artisanal wine-stoppers are functional, decorative accessories and collectables. They make excellent gifts when given along with your love one's favorite bottle of wine.
Michelle Swanson – Mixed Media Ceramics
Combining her flair for vibrant coloration with a keen eye for organic elements, Michelle's work is inspired by a passion to explore, and a desire to blur boundaries between function and non-function. Her fascination with contrasting textures and patterns use of one object to create the illusion of others. Her unique vision allows the materials to cooperate in coming together and the various organic materials she incorporates into her work results in pieces which are both surprising in our day to day experiences, deeply rooted in our ancient memories, and oddly curious.
Joe Lindzius – Musician
Joe's music is rootsy, folksy, and flavorful. Working with a variety of musicians in a variety of styles, he has honed a unique sound reminiscent of a dustbowl troubadour. Whether performing as “Joe and Friends” or the unique duo of Joe Lindzius & Sarah Jane Hale known as “Similar Dogs” Joe brings A diverse repertoire grounded by acoustic guitar to the melodic table offering a sometimes howlin' coffehouse style that appeals to audiences of all ages.
Department One - Mixed Media
The junction of personalities, proficiencies, styles, and experiences contributes to a diverse body of work that emerge from the Department One collective of artists collaborating here at Art On The Plaza. Resident and guest artists have joined efforts to catalyze creativity and inspiration through the demonstration of skills, technique, and vision in a variety of media, some familiar, and some delightfully out-of-the-box. This rotating collaboration of artists capitalizes on the intersection of art and enterprise by encouraging synergistic partnerships and developing innovative applications. Often a common work will be begun by one or more artists, and then furthered by others, each contributing portions to the final work. The experimental, Do-It-Yourself ethos of this group almost always produces work that is unusual, and thought provoking and Art On The Plaza is proud to host the kind of free-wheeling creativity that invariably emerges from the artists of Department One.